On Saturday, April 27th, a delegation of senior officials from the Mauritanian fishery and harbour industry visited the SRRC in Pieterburen. The SRRC has been working with Mauritanian biologists, fishery experts and other scientists to protect the very rare, almost extinct Mediterranian Monk Seal (Monachus monachus) since 1993.
The delegation's visit was a confirmation of 20 years of collaboration and consultation with this North-West African country in the field of nature conservation, following the SRRC's method that it has introduced in many countries. This method includes: to involve the local population in the problems of animals, but also to improve the local people's quality of life.
For some time now, there has been a seal in the Kraayert port (port Vlissingen-East) near schipyard "De Donge". The animal spent the whole of yesterday afternoon sunbathing on the rear deck of a moored yacht. He did not bat an eyelid at the shipyard's employees, who were working close-by.
Almost a year ago, the seal was also a regular guest at the shipyard; for a couple of months he would come and lie in the same spot.
Seal in Zuidlaardermeer
We have received several phone calls about a seal swimming around in the Zuidlaardermeer. The seal was seen in the marina Meerzicht in Midlaren. Our people are keeping an eye on the seal, but for the moment he seems to be doing fine. Head of seal-care, Richard Dijkema: "It is probably an old friend of ours, it looks as if it is the same seal that was spotted in the Schildmeer not so long ago. Our advice is to leave the seal alone and not to worry."
Of course, it is extraordinary that some seals choose to roam around in fresh water. Even though seals prefer salt water, they are perfectly able to survive in fresh or brackish water. After all, they can find fish to feed on there too. Luckily, most seals usually find their way back to sea eventually without any help.
Source: SRRC Lenie 't Hart
The Hooded seal is doing wellThe Hooded seal that was found on the headland at Oostvoorne is doing well. The animal was run-down and emaciated, but she has recovered remarkably quickly at the SRRC.
On arrival, the animal weighed around 53 kilos. Meanwhile, after a couple of weeks rest and good food - because that was all the animal needed- she weighs over 83 kilos. This means that she is ready to be released. For "vagrant guests" this is a big operation: she must be brought as far North as possible, so that she can swim home from there to her habitat around Greenland. From experience, we know that animals that are released in the northern North Sea are able to find their way home. This hooded seal has been given a good second chance.
The special hooded seal was adopted by Anja and Alexander from Rijswijk. Her adopters have given her the special name Sedna: goddess of the sea in Inuit. Partly due to this fantastic support we will be able to start this vagrant lady off on her journey home. And with such a symbolic name it should certainly work out.
Source: SRRC Lenie 't Hart
Children from Zeeland in actionLast Friday, Lenie 't Hart visited Zeeland to attend twelve year old Anna from Nieuwdorp's class talk. The contact more or less started by accident when Anna contacted the SRRC via email. Lenie was impressed by Anna's talk. "She has really done her best to find lots of information, but what I find especially important is that she understands so well what is happening to the seals and why it is so important that we help them," said Lenie.
Anna had enthused her class so much that they all started collecting towels. Lenie gladly received them: "We always need lots of towels for the seals. The animals like to lie on them and we use them to handle the seals. But they get very dirty and often tear so we can no longer use them. That is why people always can make us happy with towels."
Lenie told Anna that she considered her a great spokesperson for the seals, and Anna told her that she would love to come and work as a volunteer for the SRRC. In this way we work on building a good future for the seals!
Source: SRRC Lenie ‘t Hart
Unveiling information board about sealsA beautiful day for Vlissingen today! On the beach Lenie 't Hart revealed the first information board about seals. The board gives useful information about the common and grey seals along the Dutch coast and what to do if you find a seal in need. The municipality of Vlissingen is placing six such boards. Hopefully other coastal towns will follow this example.
Of course it is great that there are more seals and that people along the Dutch coast can enjoy these beautiful animals. But seals are also getting into trouble more often. Pollution causes sickness in half of all young seals, and disruption causes many young animals to lose their mother.
Fortunately, SRRC's volunteers are on call both day and night to help seals in need. These seal first aiders are called in when a sick or orphaned seal is found and ensure that the animal is quickly brought to the rehabilitation centre in Pieterburen. Our main motivation is releasing rehabilitated seals back to their natural habitat. Let's be honest: what is more beautiful than the return of freedom?
SRRC Lenie 't Hart has been chosen by some 70.000 members of the ANWB as the best outing in the province of Groningen. Other nominees were, among others, the Groninger Museum, Bourtange Fortress, the Dutch Comics museum and DoeZoo insect-world. Especially the atmosphere and the staff's helpfulness was highly appreciated in Pieterburen. Some comments about the SRRC: "Fantastic dedication. Discipline and drive. A detailed and enthusiastic explanation. Clear and instructive info."
Drama on the Beach
Finder Diko Holsvoogd sent us another picture of the terrible situation that he encountered on the beach of Terschelling. Luckily, in Pieterburen, the poor animal could quickly be freed from its instrument of torture, as can be seen in the article below. Now, the seal is already doing better. He is feeding himself and is swimming with other seals in the Large Bath, one of the outside pools.
Source: Zeehondencrèche Lenie 't Hart
For the second time in a short while a young grey seal has been brought in wounded by roaming pieces of fishnet.
Both net victims were found on the beach of Terschelling.
It is almost always grey seals that get caught up in fishnets.
Despite all efforts to gather roaming nets out of the sea, seals still regularly get caught up in nets.
Nets continue catching things even when they are no longer attached to fishing boats. This is why many animals, such as birds, porpoises, dolphins and seals get caught up in them.
The mountain of nets on the SRRC terrain functions as a monument and a symbol of the dangers caused by people at sea. All nets on the mountain in Pieterburen – more than 1000 tonnes in total– have been collected by Dutch fishermen at the SRRC's request.
Source: SRRC Lenie 't Hart
Pictures: Ana Rubio Garcia and Guillermo Sanches Contreras
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